The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights concluded its 77th Ordinary Session held in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania from 20 October to 9 November 2023. During the session, the Commission renewed its Bureau. It received solemn declarations from elected and re-elected members and launched several documents and newsletters, among others.
ISHR joined 144 families of victims of police violence and over 360 civil society organisations to endorse this letter sent to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Monday regarding the implementation of the recent Human Rights Council resolution adopted on 19 June 2020. This resolution followed an urgent debate at the Council ‘on current racially inspired human rights violations, systemic racism, police brutality and violence against peaceful protests.’
Though the urgent debate prompted by the African group initially called for the establishment of an actual commission of inquiry on the US and other countries, due to acute diplomatic pressure from the US and its allies, the Council finally decided to instead mandate the High Commissioner with preparing a report on systemic racism, police violence, and government responses to antiracism protests and share regular updates on the issue at Council’s sessions.
Nevertheless, this report and the upcoming updates still present an opportunity to place racially-charged police violence under the Council’s scrutiny on a regular basis. This is why families of victims and civil society called on the High Commissioner to focus the report on the lives of PAD and prepare it in close collaboration with them. ‘This requires inclusive outreach to communities of color and the creation of meaningful, safe,and accessible opportunities for consultation’ the signatories said.
“The Council has an essential role to play in ensuring accountability for victims and we call on the High Commssioner to recommend a concrete path forward for the Council”, said Salma El Hosseiny, ISHR Human Rights Council Programme Manager.
During the 77th Ordinary Session, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights granted observer status to nine non-governmental organisations. It rejected five applications. Four of these applications were rejected on the grounds that the organisations did not have offices in Africa.
At the 53rd session of the UN Human Rights Council, during the adoption of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) report of Benin, ISHR and Changement Social Benin delivered a joint statement encouraging Benin to do more for the protection of defenders in the country.